At first glance, hiking may just seem like walking outdoors, but as the kilometres start to add up and the terrain starts to become more rugged, you’ll soon realize that there’s a lot more to hiking than just putting one foot in front of the other. So if you’re new to hiking altogether or class yourself as a beginner looking to start taking on some more challenging trails, then here are five tips that may make your life a little easier.
1. Get fit
Fitness may seem like an obvious tip, and yet it is still something than many new hikers overlook. Just like any sport, if you come to hiking with no previous background in fitness, then you may find that you are struggling with even the shortest and least challenging trails. To start progressing, pay attention to your fitness, work on it by hiking more and by doing other exercises at home that will help you to keep pushing for longer
2. Pack as light as possible
One of the most common errors made by new hikers is to pack far too much stuff. You may be able to hike for 30 kilometres without a pack, but add on an extra 20 pounds and you may find that you are starting to struggle at half the distance. In hiking, every ounce matters, which means that it’s easy to find specialist hiking gear that has been designed to be lightweight. Start reducing the stuff you take with you and then slowly begin swapping out your items for lighter alternatives and before long you’ll have shaved pounds off your pack weight.
3. Try trekking poles
Trekking poles are one of those items that you don’t realize you need until you try them. The best trekking poles are lightweight and help to provide stability on uneven ground, while also reducing the force placed on your knees and ankles making it easier for you to hike further. In slippery conditions, trekking poles can also help you to get more grip and if you’re carrying a heavier pack for an overnight hike then they can help you to maintain control when traversing steep descents.
4. Invest in your shoes
You may be able to walk easier trails in trainers but as you start to go further and try your hand at some more rugged terrain you’ll soon realise that you need to upgrade to a specialist hiking shoe. Hiking boots are designed to provide extra grip, comfort and support than regular shoes and will look after your feet as you start to go the distance. There are many different types of hiking shoe out there depending on the style of hiking you are into and your price point, but if there’s one thing you invest in, then let it be your feet.
5. Wear the right layers
Getting too hot, too cold or wet while hiking can make your trip miserable, so be sure to wear the right combination of layers and to buy clothing made of breathable material. Sometimes something as simple as wearing the correct base layer can make all the difference to your comfort on a trip, so don’t rule out the basics.
So there you have it! We hope you find these tips helpful and if you have any others to share, then please let us know in the comments.